The perfect 2 days in Wilmington, DE Itinerary includes opportunities to get outdoors, learn a bit of history, and enjoy some good eats. With its many enchanting gardens, museums, amazing food, and tons of history, Wilmington, Delaware is an ideal destination to keep you entertained for a weekend getaway. Keep reading for our favorite things to do in Wilmington DE with kids!
One of the reasons that I love living in the Washington, DC area is its proximity to other cool destinations. In my more than two decades living in the region, I’m ashamed to admit that I haven’t always taken advantage of the smaller cities close to home. I’ve zipped up and down I-95, stopping to check out the more popular destinations. During the pandemic, I vowed to start checking out gems right in my backyard.
So, when we were invited to spend a weekend discovering Wilmington, Delaware, we hopped at the chance. Whether this is part of an exciting family road trip, a romantic weekend getaway, or a girls’ trip this list will help you plan how to spend two days in Wilmington, DE.
Here’s an itinerary for where to go, what to do, and what to eat during a weekend in Wilmington.
[This post on The Best Things to do in Wilmington, Delaware with Kids was originally published May 2021, and updated April 2022.]
THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN WILMINGTON DE WITH KIDS – DAY 1
Take a Stroll Around Brandywine Park
Brandywine Park is located right next to the Brandywine Zoo. There’s the beautiful Josephine Fountain surrounded by verdant lawns. Check out the view of the Brandywine River and there’s a cool swing bridge on the path west of the zoo.
Dance with the Lemurs at the Brandywine Zoo
The Brandywine Zoo is small but is filled with fun exhibits for the family. The Madagascar exhibit was a hit with our oldest child who decided to have a dance party next to the lemur enclosure while singing “We like to move it, move it” which is a nod to the 2005 animated film, Madagascar in which the lemurs sang and danced to the same tune. As you walk through the zoo you’ll note random mini carolers belting out the same song at different intervals as they walk past the exhibit. It’s really cute!
Our youngest child was enamored with the goats. There’s a small petting area at the back of the zoo filled with sheep and goats. The Brandywine Zoo wasn’t crowded and the zookeepers were friendly and eager to answer our questions about the animals. It was a great way to start our visit to Wilmington.
Take a Step Back in Time at the Hagley Museum and Library
Explore the 235-acre gunpowder mill and ancestral home of the duPont family. During the tour, we learned how many 19th century laborers worked at the mill. There are knowledgeable docents on-site that offer gunpowder, Turbine, and machine shop demonstrations at various times throughout the day.
Although the black powder industry was fascinating, I was eager to learn about the duPont family and see their home. It looked like a mansion plucked from the pages of the Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte novel. Unfortunately, the inside of the mansion was closed during our visit, but there were photographs of the interior on display.
Dine at a Swanky Pizza Parlor
We stopped by Pizza by Elizabeths for lunch. This swanky joint is located in a middle of a shopping center, but you can’t tell by the décor which I can only describe as pretty and girly. The restaurant’s theme and pizza menu are dedicated to several famous Elizabeths in pop culture. Photos of famous Elizabeths line a wall and the grande dame herself, Queen Elizabeth has her very own section. This posh eatery is the perfect gathering place for ‘ladies who lunch.’ The elegant ambiance alone is worth a visit, but if you’re not feeling up to eating anything heavy, I highly recommend their Cobb Salad. It was delish!
Stroll Along the Riverfront
After lunch, take a stroll along the Wilmington Riverfront. The 1.3-mile boardwalk along the Christina River is full of things to do from an education center to restaurants, mini-golf, and a beer garden. You can spend the better part of a day in this area ambling along the boardwalk or sitting and watching as people pass by.
Enjoy Wilmington’s art and history
The Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park is located across the street from the Riverfront Market. The park is named after one of my sheroes, Harriet Tubman, and famous abolitionist and Delaware native Thomas Garrett. Visitors are greeted with a riveting sculpture at the entrance of the park that depicts the heroic acts of the park’s namesakes.
Have a Shake
For dinner, head downtown and stop by the Farmer and the Cow Burger Bar. I wanted to taste one of their legendary milkshakes and opted to try the “Saturday Morning Cartoons” milkshake. This shake tasted like a cold bowl of Froot Loops, Cap’n Crunch, and Fruity Pebbles all in one. We might be guilty of allowing our children to have dessert before dinner.
BEST THINGS TO DO IN WILMINGTON DE WITH KIDS – DAY 2
But First Coffee
Before starting our day (any day) we must have our cup of Joe. We popped into local coffee house, Brew HaHa! to see what was on their breakfast menu. I ordered a Cuban coffee (What can I say, you can take the girl outta Miami but never the Miami outta the girl!) and French toast (which was made with Brioche bread). The dining room was closed when we visited, but there was ample seating in the front and back of the establishment. After devouring my French toast, I went back inside to check out the joint which is when I discovered that they have a beautifully decorated interior and deck outback. This uber-cute café and bar served the best French toast, I’ve ever had.
Get enchanted by the Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
Winterthur Museum is the fourth-largest house in the country. We did not tour the museum or library, but we thoroughly enjoyed a guided tour of the gardens. Visitors, pile into a trolley and can hop off at any stop along the way up to the mansion from the visitor’s center. We decided to get off at the Enchanted Forest. This, by far, was the children’s favorite Wilmington attraction. It’s a miniature gauntlet for children. My kiddos spent more than an hour zipping up and down the dotted paths, rolling on life-sized wooden eggs in a gigantic bird’s nest, and they even had time for a make-believe tea party.
PRO-TIP: The garden tour is very popular. You’ll pass a hallway filled with wheelchairs, walkers, and umbrella strollers on your way to the trolley. Visitors can borrow any of the items for free. Since we didn’t think to bring our stroller on this trip, we grabbed a stroller just in case. It was a great thing that we did because once you take the trolley up to the mansion it’s tough to find a seat on a return trolley. We ended up taking the long walk back to the visitor center. The trek was only about a mile but after running around the forest, our little one was tired of walking and that stroller came in handy.
Also, if you have mobility or special needs, you can ask the Visitor Services Assistant for help or call prior to your visit. The staff informed us that there are employees stationed near the mansion that use small carts to drive guests back to the visitor center.
Taste Wilmington’s Soul
If you have a hankering for soul food, Wilmington natives can quickly rattle off a list of eateries that fit the bill. At the top of the list is Evelyn’s, a humble-looking diner that serves mouthwatering “down-home” fare. If you’re not sure what to order, you can’t go wrong with fried chicken wings and collard greens. Other eateries mentioned were Serena’s Soul Food, Tasties 302, and L & G Southern Soul Food to name a few.
ADDITIONAL ACTIVITIES FOR A WEEKEND IN WILMINGTON, DE
Enjoy the Gardens at the Mt. Cuba Center
Enjoy a day outdoors at the Mt. Cuba Center. This one-time private estate is now a public garden and research center with more than 20 acres of gardens and nearly 600 acres of managed natural lands.
Learn about Delaware History
The Mitchell Center for African American Heritage at the Delaware History Museum features the “Journey to Freedom” exhibit which highlights stories of people who risked their lives to help enslaved people find freedom. There’s also a history lesson that chronicles the life of Antoni Swart, who is Delaware’s first documented Black resident.
Drive the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway
If you have time, I’d highly recommend meandering along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Byway. The Byway maps out the route Harriett Tubman used through Delaware to rescue about 70 enslaved people through the Underground Railroad. Delaware was the last stop on the way to freedom for the people using the Underground Railroad. The Byway stretches 95-miles and takes more than three hours to complete.
After spending two days in Wilmington, Delaware, you’ll have seen many sights, tried delicious food and drinks, and explored some unique areas around the city. We hope you enjoy your time in Wilmington!
Thank you, Greater Wilmington Convention & Visitors Bureau for hosting us! All information and opinions presented are my own.
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